CORNERSTONE BAPTIST CHURCH
We, being born-again and Bible-believing Christians by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; believing the Bible to be the divinely in inspired and authoritative Word of God and final authority for all Christian faith and practice; accepting the historic Baptist distinctives; in the interests of growth in grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ through worship and work; and that we might fulfill our responsibilities to propagate the Word of God both at home, and abroad; and to contend earnestly for the faith (Jude 1:3); and that "all things might be done decently and in order"(I Cor. 14:40); we do, therefore, band ourselves together as a body of immersed believers in Jesus Christ and hereby adopt the following constitution as the statement of our faith and principles for the government of our local church.
Jude 1:3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.
1CO 14:40 Let all things be done decently and in order.
ARTICLE I. NAME
The name of this organization shall be: CORNERSTONE BAPTIST CHURCH
ARTICLE II. PURPOSE
The purpose of this church shall be to accomplish the will of Lord Jesus Christ through the uniting of Christians in fellowship faithful to the Word of the preaching of the whole counsel of God, for spiritual edification of saints, the winning of lost sinners to Christ, the propagation of the Gospel both at home and abroad, and for the observance of the ordinances.
ARTICLE III. DOCTRINAL POSITION
Section I. Statement of Faith
A. The Holy Scriptures. We believe the Holy Scriptures consisting of the Old and New testaments only, to be the plenarily, verbally inspired Word of God, inerrant in the original manuscripts, authoritative, infallible and God-breathed; and that they are the only supreme and ultimate authority for faith and practice. (II Tim. 3:16-17; II Pet. 1:20-21; Matt. 5:18; I Cor. 2:10-13).
B. The Godhead. We believe in the one triune God, existing in three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, eternal in being, identical in essence, equal in power and glory and having the same divine attributes and perfections; yet exercising them in varied offices (Deut. 6:4; Matt. 28:19; John 14:7-12; 16:7; II Cor. 13:14).
C. The Person and Work of Jesus Christ.
1. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, became man, without ceasing to be God, having been conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary, in order that He might reveal God and redeem sinful man (Matt. 1:18-20; John 1:1,2 14,18; Luke 1:35).
2. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ died for our sins according to His scriptures, as a substitutionary sacrifice, and that all who receive Him are justified on the ground of His shed blood (Rom. 3:24-26; 4:25; I Cor. 15:3-4; II Cor. 5:21).
3. We believe in the resurrection of the crucified body of our Lord Jesus Christ and that our redemption and salvation is guar¬anteed to us by His literal, physical resurrection from the dead; in His bodily ascension into heaven; and in His present life there for us as High Priest and Intercessor (Matt. 28:5, 6; I Cor. 15:12-19; Acts 1:9; Heb. 4:14-16; 7:23-25; 9:24; I John 2:1,2.)
4. We believe in "that blessed hope" which is the PERSONAL, VISIBLE, PRETRIBULATIONAL, PREMILLENNIAL and IMMINENT return Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ (I Cor. 15:51-53; I Thess. 4:14-17; Titus 2:13; I John 3:2-3).
D. The Second Coming of Christ. We believe in the personal, pretribulational, imminent coming of the Lord Jesus Christ for His own, the church, and His subsequent personal, premillennial return visibly to earth to establish His kingdom and to reign for a millennium over the entire earth from the throne of David (II Sam 7:12-16; Zech. 14:4-11; Luke 1:30-33; Acts 15:14-18; I Thes. 4:l3-l8; I cor. 15:5l,52; Rev. 19:11-16; 20:6).
E. The Personality of the Holy Spirit. We believe that the Holy Spirit is a Divine Person, equal with the Father and the Son and of the same substance and nature; that He convicts the world of sin, righteousness and judgment; bears witness to the truth; is the agent of the new birth; and that He seals, endues, guides, teaches, wit¬nesses to, sanctifies, and helps the believer, that He baptizes them into the Church, the Body of Christ, indwells them permanently, seals them unto the day of redemption, bestows spiritual gifts upon each one, and fills for service those yielded to Him. We believe that certain of the spiritual gifts of the Holy Spirit to the Church such as apostleship, prophecy, and tongues were temporary, were needed only in the infancy of the church and are not to be expected today. We believe that the Holy Spirit testifies concerning Jesus Christ and never leads any person, at any time, contrary to the teaching of the Bible (John 3:8; 14:16; 15:26-27; 16:7-15; Acts 5:14; I Cor. l2:4-l3; I Cor. 13:8-11; Eph. 4:30; 5:18).
F. The Total Depravity of Man. We believe that man was created in the image and likeness of God, but that in Adam's sin the race fell and thereby incurred not only physical death, but also spiritual death, which is separation from God; and that all mankind have in¬herited a sinful nature, became willful sinners with the first ex¬pression of personal choice, are totally unable to regain their former position, and are without excuse before God (Gen. 1:26; 3:1-24; Rom. 3:23; 5:12; 1:20; Eph. 2:1-6,12).
G. Salvation, Regeneration, Eternal Security of the Believer.
1. We believe that salvation is a gift of God brought to men by grace and received by personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, whose blood was shed on Calvary for the forgiveness of sins. Salva¬tion is solely through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ who shed His blood for the forgiveness of our sins and, being a gift, is not earned by any good works whatsoever. All those who receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior are regenerated and become sons of God, (Eph. 1:7; 2:8, 9; John 1:2; 3:5-7).
2. We believe that the Scriptures teach that regeneration, or the new birth, is that change in the soul by the Holy Spirit by which a new nature and spiritual life, not before possessed, are imparted, and the person becomes a new creation in Christ Jesus; and without it salvation is impossible (John 3:3-6; II Cor. 5:17; I Pet. 1:23; Titus 3:5).
3. We believe that the salvation of every believer is secure for all eternity from the moment of regeneration. This security is guaranteed to each believer by the fact that the life received is eternal life, by the keeping power of God, by the sealing ministry of the Holy Spirit, and by the interceding ministry of Christ (John 5:24; 10:27-30; Rom. 8:1,29,30 38,39; Eph. 4:30; Heb. 7:25).
H. Sanctification. We believe that immediate, positional sanctification is that act of God whereby believers are, at the time of regeneration, eternally set apart as belonging to Him by redemption, thereby being placed in the family of God as children, joint heirs with Jesus Christ (I John 3:1; Rom. 8:14-17; I Cor. 1:2; Heb. 10:10-14).
We believe that progressive sanctification is the process by which, according to God's will, we are made partakers of His holiness; that it is progressive; that it is begun in regeneration; that it pro¬gresses if the believer is yielded to the Holy Spirit's control; that it is carried on in the hearts of believers by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit through the Word of God, self-examination, watch¬fulness and prayer (I Thess. 4:3; 5:23; Prov. 4:18; I John 2:29; Phil. 2:12-13; Eph. 6:18; John 17:17).
We believe that ultimate sanctification will be the portion of every believer when finally in the presence of the Lord, complete and entire, with soul and spirit united in the resurrected body free from every trace or effect of sin and rebellion (I John 3:2; I Cor. 15:52-54; Eph. 4:30; 5:27; Phil. 4:20-21).
I. Separation. We believe in the Biblical doctrine of separa¬tion which encompasses three things: (1) the separation of the local church from all affiliation and fellowship with those who deny the verities of the "faith once delivered to the saints;" (2) the sepa¬ration the individual believer from all worldly practices that may dishonor the Savior; and (3) the separation of church and state (II Tim. 3:1-5; Rom. 12:1,2; 14:13; I John 2:15-17; II John 9-11; IICor. 6:11-7:1).
J. The Eternal State. We believe that the souls of those who have trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation do at death im¬mediately pass into His presence and there remain in conscious bliss until the resurrection of the body at His coming when soul and body reunited shall be associated with Him forever in glory; but, that the souls of unbelievers remain after death in conscious misery unto the final judgment of the Great White Throne at the close of the millen¬nium, when soul and body reunited shall be cast into the lake of fire from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power (Luke 16:19-26; 23;43; II Cor. 5:8; Phil. 1:23; II Thess. 1:7-9; Rev. 20:11-15; 14:9-14; I Thess. 4:13-18).
K. The Church. We believe in the church - a living, spiritual body of which Christ is the Head (Matt. 16:16-18; I Cor. 12:12, 13; Gal. 3:27; Eph. 1:22, 23; 5:25-27).
We believe that each local church is a visible expression of the Body of Christ and is a congregation of believers in Jesus Christ immersed upon a credible confession of faith, and associated together by covenant for worship, evangelism, and observance of the ordinances and fellowship. We believe that the local church is the center of God's program for this age, and that every Christian is bound by Scripture to give his unhindered cooperation to the program of His local church (Acts 2:41-47; 14:27; 20:17; I Tim. 3:1-16 Titus 1:. 5-11; I Cor. 3:10-17; 5:1-5; 11:2).
L. The Church's Ordinances. We believe that the Lord Jesus instituted two ordinances, baptism and the Lord's Supper, to be observed by all believers until His return.
We believe that baptism is the immersion in water of a believer in Christ, into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit to show forth by solemn and beautiful symbolism, the believer's identification with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection, and that it is a Scriptural prerequisite to church membership (Matt. 28:19; Acts 8:36; Rom. 6:3-5; I Pet. 3:21; Acts 2:38-41).
We believe that the Lord's supper is partaking of bread and the fruit of the vine, as symbols of Christ's body and blood, commemorat¬ing His suffering and death for us and our continual benefit there from; that participation should be limited to those who have united to the local church by baptism and testimony, or to those who are baptized members of churches of like faith and practice, and that participation should be preceded by careful self-examination (I Cor. 11:23-32; 5:1-5; Matt. 18:15-17).
M. The Great Commission. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ has commissioned the Church to take the Gospel to the world, and that evangelism at home and abroad should be primary in the program of the local church (Matt. 28:19-20; Acts 1:8).
N. The Responsibility of Believers. We believe that all be¬lievers should seek to walk by the Spirit, not bringing reproach upon their Lord and Savior, exercising Christian liberty regulated by love, separated from worldly pleasures and practices, separated from organ¬izational association with apostate groups (Rom. 12:1,2; Gal. 6:16; II Cor. 6:14-17; I Cor. 8:1-13).
We believe that it is the responsibility of all believers to witness by life and by word to the truths of the Holy Scriptures and to assume responsibility for the propagation of the gospel to all the world (Matt 28:19, 20; Acts 1:8).
We believe that it is the responsibility of all believers to remember the work of the local church and it's extension ministries prayer, to support it with their tithes and offerings as the Lord prospers them, to participate in all the regular services of the Church as the Lord enables, and to voluntarily submit to the watchcare and discipline of the local church We believe that a Christian relinquishes all rights to direct the use of his tithe or offering once the gift has been made to the church. (I Cor. 16:2; Heb. l0:19-2~; 13:17, 18).
O. Creation. We believe that God created the heavens and the earth, including all life, "Each after its own kind," by direct act, and. not by any process of evolution and that the days of creation in Genesis Chapter 1 were solar, that is, twenty-four hour days (Gen. 1. and 2; Col. 1:16,17; John 1:3; Ex. 20:9,11; 31:1).
P. Human Sexuality. We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of marriage between on man and one woman. We believe that any form of homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, bestiality, incest, fornication, adultery, and pornography are sinful perversions of God’s gift of sex. We believe that God disapproves of and forbids any attempt to alter one’s gender by surgery or appearance. (Genesis 2:24; 19:5. 13; 26:8-9; Leviticus 18:1-30; Romans 1:26-29; I Corinthians 5:1; 6:9; I Thessalonians 4:1-8; Hebrews 13:4). We believer that the only Scriptural marriage is the joining of one man with one woman. (Genesis 2:24; Romans 7:2; I Corinthians 7:10; Ephesians 5:22-23)
Q. Family Relationships. We believe that men and women are spiritually equal in position before God but that God has ordained distinct and separate spiritual functions for men and women in the home and the church. The husband is to be the leader of the home, and men are to be leaders (pastors and deacons) of the church. Accordingly, only men are eligible for licensure and ordination by the church. (Galatians 3:28; Colossians 3:18; I Timothy 2:18-15; 3:4-5, 12).
R. Abortion. We believe that human life begins at conception and that the unborn child is a living human being. Abortion constitutes the unjustified, unexcused taking of unborn human life. Abortion is murder. We reject any teaching that abortions of pregnancies due to rape, incest, birth defects, gender selection, birth or population control, or the physical or mental well being of the mother are acceptable. In cases of the physical endangerment of the mother’s life, every effort should be made to save both the mother and baby’s life. (Job 3;16; Psalm 51:5; 139:14-16; Isaiah 44:24; 49:1, 5; Jeremiah 1:5; 20:15-18; Luke 1:44)
S. Euthanasia. We believe that the direct taking of an innocent life is a moral evil, regargless of intention. Life is a gift of God and must be respected from conception until natural death. Thus we believe that an act or omission which, of itself or by intention, causes death in order to eliminate suffering constitutes a murder contrary to the will of God. Discontinuing medical procedures that are extraordinary or disproportionate to the expected outcome can be a legitimate refusal of over-zealous treatment. (Exodus 20;13; 23:7; Matthew 5:21; Acts 17:28).
T. Lawsuits between believers. We believe that Christians are prohibited from bringing lawsuits against other Christians or the church to resolve personal disputes. We believe the church possesses all the resources necessary to resolve personal disputes between members. We do believe, however, that a Christian may seek compensation for injuries from another Christian’s insurance company as long as the claim is pursued without malice or slander. (I Corinthians 6:1-8; Ephesians 4:31-32)
Section II. Doctrinal Agreement.
A. The following persons shall indicate full agreement with the doctrinal position of the church by signing the statement of faith without mental reservation: Pastor, all elected or appointed church officers, all officers, teachers, and leaders in the Sunday School, youth program, and all other church organizations. There shall be no unofficial church organizations, and all officers, teachers and leaders shall be members of this church.
B. Should an individual included in Section II-A above, change his or her doctrinal position and become in disagreement with the Statement of Faith, that individual shall be obligated to resign from the place of responsibility. Should it come to the attention of the Pastor and the Deacons that such an individual has changed in doc¬trinal position but has not resigned, it shall be the responsibility of the Pastor and the Deacons to recommend to the congregation the immediate removal of the individual from the place of responsibility and leadership.
ARTICLE IV. ASSOCIATIONAL AFFILIATIONS
This church is an autonomous Baptist church under the headship of Christ and the leadership of God-given pastors. Affiliation shall be only with such organizations and associations which manifest both by statement and practice their agreement with the faith and practice set forth in this constitution. Upon an announcement made at least two (2) successive Sundays prior to the date of voting and upon a majority vote of members present and voting, the church may choose to affiliate or to disaffiliate with any local, state, or national asso¬ciation of churches; or it may, for reasons known to itself, choose to remain unaffiliated with any group of churches. In the event that it does affiliate with an association of churches, such affiliation shall be understood to affect in no way the rights, powers, and privileges of the church, either as relates to its property or the operation of its affairs. Withdrawal from any and all affiliations shall in no wise jeopardize its property.
ARTICLE V. MEMBERSHIP
Section I. Qualifications for Membership.
Persons desiring membership in this church must give public testimony of their faith in Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. They must be or have been baptized by immersion following their conversion.
Application for membership may be by profession of faith in Christ, by reaffirmation of faith, or by letter from another church of like faith and practice.
Section II. Receiving of Members.
Persons applying for membership shall appear before the Pastor and the deacons to give testimony of their salvation to indicate their willingness to abide by the Constitution and Covenant of the church, and to answer any questions concerning their experiences and faith that the deacons might desire to ask.
After candidates for membership have been approved by the Pastor and the Deacons, the Pastor shall recommend them to the congregation for acceptance. All candidates for membership shall give testimony of salvation to the congregation at the time of voting and unbaptized candidates shall be baptized at the next subsequent baptismal ser¬vice, at which time they shall become members of this church.
Candidates shall be received into the membership by a majority voice vote at any regular church service. Any member voicing a dis¬senting vote shall appear immediately before the Pastor and Deacons and give Scriptural reasons supporting his dissention, upon which the Pastor and Deacons shall rule valid or invalid and so report back to to the service. If the dissent ion is ruled valid, the application shall be held in abeyance pending further investigation and attempted correction by the Deacons.
Section III Dismissal of Members.
Persons may be dismissed from the membership roll by a simple majority of eligible voting members present at any regular church service under the following circumstances:
A. At the personal request of the individual.
B. When the individual places membership in another church. If it is requested, and if the other church is of like faith and practice, a letter of commendation shall be forwarded to the other church, provided the member is in good standing at the time of leaving.
C. When the individual is dismissed from membership as part of the disciplinary action taken in accordance with the provisions for discipline of members given below.
D. The membership of any individual member shall automatically terminate without notice if the member in question has not attended a regular worship service of the church in the preceding two quarters of the church fiscal year. At each business meeting the congregation shall prayerfully identify members who they believe to have been inactive since the previous business meeting. The membership of the inactive member will terminate on the date of the next quarterly business meeting unless good reason for lack of attendance can be shown to the congregation. Though the termination is without notice, the deacons and members of the church should seek to encourage the members identified to active attendance so that termination can be voided at the next business meeting. Notice of termination can be sent if the deacons so desire.
The membership of any individual member shall terminate without notice if the member states that he or she is actively involved in any sexual sins described in the section “Human Sexuality” or files a lawsuit in violation of the Section “”Lawsuits between Believers.”
Section IV. Discipline of Members.
A. If a member errs in conduct or doctrine, all disciplinary action shall be conducted in accordance with Matt. 18:15-18; Titus 3:10, and I Tim. 5:19.
B. If a member errs in conduct or doctrine, the member who has that knowledge, shall in brotherly love, attempt to admonish and correct him. If he does not heed this advice, the pastor and deacons shall be notified, who shall also admonish him. If this fails, the pastor and deacons shall report the case to a business meeting of the church. The accused shall be notified of the time and place of the church business meeting at which time these charges shall be preferred and shall be invited to answer these charges.
C. If the member fails to respond to the invitation to answer the charges against him or her, the church may, upon presentation of the charges, withdraw from him the hand of church fellowship.
D. The exclusion of a disciplined member must be acted upon by the church which alone has the authority. Any erring member, when admonition and reconciliation have failed, who is recommended for dismissal by the pastor and the deacons can only be dismissed by a majority vote by secret ballot of the voting members present. Such a vote shall only be taken after written notification to the charged member and at a business meeting of the church whose purpose and time have been announced at least one week prior to it.
If a member who has erred in conduct or doctrine shall voluntarily confess it to the church, and manifest repentance, no further proceedings, except in cases of public scandal, shall be enter-tained against him. If a person responds to the action of disci¬pline and excommunication by demonstrating sincere repentance, he or she shall be given opportunity to confess publicly to the congregation and to request forgiveness. Upon such spiritual restoration and at a recommendation of the pastor and deacons, the congregation may by majority vote, restore the person to full membership. In cases involving fornication, restoration shall not include the right to hold the office of pastor or deacon.
ARTICLE VI. OUR CHURCH COVENANT
Having been led, as we believe, by the Spirit of God, to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior,
And on the profession of our faith having been baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost,
We do now, in the presence of God, angels and this assembly, most solemnly and joyfully enter into covenant with one another, as one body in Christ.
We engage, therefore, by the aid of the Holy Spirit, to walk together in Christian love; to strive for the advancement of this church, in knowledge, holiness, and comfort;
To promote its prosperity and spirituality; to sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline, and doctrines;
To contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the church, the relief of the poor, and the spread of the Gospel through all nations.
We also engage to maintain family and secret devotions; to religiously educate our children; to seek the salvation of our kindred and acquaintances;
To walk circumspectly in the world; to be just in our dealings, faithful in our engagements, and exemplary in our deportment;
To avoid all tattling, backbiting and excessive anger;
To abstain from the sale and use of intoxicating drinks as a beverage, and to be zealous in our efforts to advance the kingdom of our Savior.
We further engage to watch over one another in brotherly love;
To remember each other in prayer; to aid each other in sickness, and distress; to cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling and courtesy in speech;
To be slow to take offense, but always ready for reconciliation and mindful of the rules of our Savior to secure it without delay.
We moreover engage that when we remove from this place we will, as soon as possible, unite with some other church, where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principles of God's Word.
ARTICLE VII. PASTOR
Section I. Scriptural Qualifications.
His qualifications shall reflect the requirements as stated in I Timothy 3:1-6 and Titus 1:5-9 (cf. also I Tim. 6:10-12; II Tim. 4:1-5; I Peter 5:1-3; Acts 20:17-35).
Section II. Selection of a New Pastor.
A. The Deacons shall constitute the Pulpit Committee to secure possible candidates for the Pastorate when such has been vacated. They shall interview each candidate and endeavor to hear him speak before recommending him as a candidate.
B. Each candidate shall preach in one or more of the public services of the church.
C. Each candidate shall be voted upon before considering another. No vote shall be taken until at least one week has expired following the candidate's appearance at the church.
D. The pastor shall be called by a majority vote of the members present and voting. Notice of the meeting shall be given by the church clerk in at least two regular meetings of the church prior to the election. The vote shall be by written ballot.
E. The Deacons shall be responsible to notify the pastor-elect; to report his acceptance to the congregation, and to make arrangement for his moving.
F. Parsonage requirements for the pastor's occupancy shall be the responsibility of the Trustees.
Section III. Duties of the Pastor.
A. Upon assuming his duties as pastor, he shall become a member of this church and shall be the Moderator of this church and ex¬officio member of all boards and committees.
B. The pastor shall have spiritual oversight of all the work of the church.
C. It shall be the duty of the pastor to devote himself and his time to the service of the church, preaching the Word of God and administering the ordinances. He shall watch over himself and his flock, visiting, as far as time permits, all the members of the church, especially the sick and shut-ins. He shall lead the church in the work of evangelism and shall make himself available for pastoral counseling when needed.
D. It shall be the privilege of the pastor to serve other pulpits without a loss of salary for as many as two (2) weeks out of any calendar year. In his absence, he shall arrange for a pulpit supply, which supply is to be approved by the deacons.
Section IV. Pastoral Benefits.
A. Parsonage. The church shall supply a parsonage adequate for the pastor and his family, incurring, in mutual agreement with the pastor, all expenses for the repair, improvement, and maintenance and insurance of the property. The parsonage shall be considered the pastor's home without being subject to use for church activities, except by invitation.
B. Salary. The pastor shall receive a salary adequate for meeting the financial needs of his family, a sum agreed to by mutual agreement between pastor and church and paid in accordance with a mutual agreement.
C. Vacation. The pastor shall be granted an annual vacation with full pay, the length of which shall be determined by mutual agreement between pastor and church.
D. Benefits: Car expense, insurance policies, social security, retirement, book purchases, religious publications, and expenses in connection with church associational activities shall be considered and reviewed each fiscal year and acted upon as the church so chooses.
Section V. Pastor's Term of Office.
A. He shall serve for an indefinite period of time with the reciprocal rights to terminate his services upon thirty days notice.
B. Accusations against the pastor shall be submitted to the deacons, and shall not be considered unless supported by the testi¬mony of three or more witnesses (I Tim. 5:19). If he err in doct¬rine or conduct, the deacons shall, in brotherly love, attempt to correct him (Gal. 6:1). If this is not effective, the matter shall be referred to the church which alone has authority to act.
C. The pastor may be dismissed by majority vote of the eli¬gible members present and voting, after it has been announced at two regular meetings immediately prior to this meeting. The vote shall be by written ballot.
D. If the pastor is dismissed, he shall vacate the pulpit immediately, but shall receive thirty days pay. He shall vacate the parsonage within thirty days of his dismissal, or at the discretion of the church.
ARTICLE VIII. LICENSING AND ORDAINING
Section I. Licensing
A. Any male member, who, in the judgment of this church, has given evidence of his piety, zeal and aptness to teach, that he is called of God to the work of the ministry, after having preached in the hearing of the church, may be licensed to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, provided a majority of the members present and voting at any regular church meeting shall agree thereto.
B. The license shall be terminated by similar action of the church for conduct adjudged unbecoming a licensed preacher of the gospel, or upon request by the individual, or upon his removal of his membership from the church.
Section II. Ordaining.
A. Requirements for Ordination.
This church recognizes the fact that only God can call a man to the ministry of the gospel but believes it both Scriptural and wise to have such a man commended to the ministry of the gospel by a local church. The following are some of the normal qualifications to be met by those seeking ordination by this church.
1. A personal knowledge of Christ as Savior.
2. A high moral character with an evidence of spirituality in daily life.
3. His academic preparation shall be adequate, normally consisting of three years of seminary work and of sound spiritual and mental aggressiveness. This requirement may be waived if, in the judgment of the council and church, the candidate merits exception.
4. A complete agreement with the doctrinal position of this church and with its constitution and covenant.
5. A written statement of belief and practice regarding the doctrines of the Bible to be presented to all the members of the examining council.
6. An oral examination before the examining council in which questions shall be asked relative to the candidate's Christian experience, his call to the ministry, and his knowledge of the Bible and Christian Doctrine.
B. Procedure for Ordination.
1. If this church, by majority vote of its members present at any regular church service, decides that one of its members possesses the Scriptural qualifications for full ordination, the church shall proceed in routine manner to call an examining council. Ministers and messengers from surrounding churches who are in agreement with his constitution may be invited to assist in the examining council.
2. Upon the recommendation of the Examining council, the church may ordain the candidate, invitingother candidates to assist in the service also.
3. Such ordination may be revoked for doctrinal defection and/or immorality by majority vote of the church.
ARTICLE IX. CHURCH OFFICERS
Section I. Their Qualifications.
A. Scripturally defined Officers
1. Pastor or Pastors and Deacons
2. Their character shall reflect the requirements as stated in Acts 6:3 and I Timothy chapter 3.
B. Other Elected Officers
1. All officers (including Pastor or Pastors and Deacons) shall be members of this church and shall subscribe wholeheartedly to its doctrinal statement and constit¬ution.
2. No officer (including a Pastor or Deacons) of the church may be a member of a secret order or lodge nor may he abuse the use of drugs nor may he use tobacco or alcoh¬olic beverages in any form
Section II. The Nature of Officers.
A. Elected officers by the church.
2. Assistants to the pastor, if and when required
6. Financial Secretary
7. Church Clerk
8. Sunday School Superintendent
9. Assistant Sunday School Superintendent
10. Head Usher
11. Chairman of the missionary committee
12. Chairman of the social committee
14. Chairman of the music committee
15. Sunday School Secretary
B. Appointed by pastor and deacons.
2. Auditors (if and when needed)
3. Choir director, organist, pianist and their substitutes
4. Various committees deemed necessary shall be appointed. Such committees may be dissolved when it seems advisable.
5. All appointive offices shall expire when newly appointed officers are installed.
Section III. The Organization of the Church Officers.
There shall be a minimum of three (3) male members of the church serving as deacons, if there are these many who possess the qualifications. Additional deacons, until a minimum of five (5) have been elected, for the first one hundred (100) members, shall be added after which one deacon for each fifty (50) members shall be added.
The church clerk shall submit to the nominating committee the names on the membership roll prior to their meeting to select candidates for the annual election.
There shall be a minimum of three (3) male members of the church serving as trustees if there are this many who possess the qualifications. Additional trustees, until a maximum of five (5) have been elected, may be added.
Section IV. The Standing Committees.
There shall be four standing committees; missionary, social, publicity, and music. The chairman of these shall be elected by the church each year at the annual meeting. Other members shall be appointed by the pastor and deacons each year after consulting with the respective chairmen.
Section V. Duties of Officers.
A. Duties of Elected Officers.
a. The deacons shall be ready to assist the pastor in spiritual matters.
b. The deacons shall elect a chairman from among themselves and shall be responsible for the leadership of church services in the pastor's absence. They shall also elect an assistant chairman who shall act as secretary and preside in the absence of the chairman.
c. The Pastor and deacons shall interview and examine each applicant for church membership.
d. The Pastor, or chairman of deacons when the church is without a pastor, shall call special business meetings when necessary.
e. The deacons shall assist the pastor in administering the ordinances, visitation, caring for the sick and needy and such other duties as the church may delegate to them.
f. The Pastor and deacons shall be in charge of all disciplinary measures and shall carry out such in accordance with provisions of this constitution.
g. Subject to the will of the church, the deacons shall fix the hours of all public services.
h. The deacons will have full charge of the deacons' or fellowship fund.
a. The trustees shall direct the financial needs of the church, exercise proper supervision over church property, arrange for payment of church salaries, and submit an inventory of all church properties to the annual meeting of the church. The trustees shall not make disposition of, or purchase any property for the church except as directed by the church at a business meeting. Repairs and other disbursements not exceeding five hundred dollars ($500.00) may be made by the trustees on any one bill except as already indicated in the budget.
. The trustees shall appoint two (2) persons to count the church offerings. All offerings shall be counted on the church premises before the money is deposited.
c. The trustees shall annually appoint a Budget Com¬mittee to review the church budget and finances and present a pro¬posed budget for the coming year. The proposed budget shall be presented to the trustees first, who shall in turn recommend it to the church for adoption at the annual meeting.
d. The trustees shall elect a chairman from among themselves and an assistant chairman to preside in the absence of the chairman and to act as secretary.
3. Church Treasurer
a. The church treasurer shall maintain an accurate and auditable record of the finances of the church.
b. The church treasurer shall receive from the Finan¬cial Secretary a record of all funds of the church and make disburse¬ments as authorized by the church or Board of Trustees.
c. The church treasurer shall make a monthly report of receipts and disbursements to the Board of Trustees.
d. The church treasurer shall present a written re¬port of receipts and disbursements to each quarterly business meet¬ing of the church.
e. The financial records shall be audited annually following the close of the fiscal year and an auditor's report pre¬sented to the church at the next quarterly business meeting. The trustees shall see that the auditor's report is presented.
4. Financial Secretary.
a. The financial secretary shall receive, record, and deposit all funds contributed to the church.
b. He shall distribute envelopes among the members of the church, and shall keep a complete record of all individual contributions. He shall be prepared to make reports to the pastor, deacons, or trustees at any time upon request.
c. The financial secretary shall provide a written statement of gifts to each contributor quarterly and annually.
5. Church Clerk
a. The clerk shall keep full minutes of all trans¬actions of the church at its business meetings.
b. The clerk shall keep an accurate record of the membership of the church.
c. The clerk shall keep a record of the names of all who are baptized with the date of baptism.
d. The clerk shall keep a record of the admission, dismissal and death of the members, showing the date of event and note the same briefly on the register.
e. The clerk shall present annually a terse written report of the state of the church, giving an account of the members received, dismissed, and deceased.
f. The clerk shall be responsible for writing letters of transfer or dismissal upon recommendation of the church.
g. The clerk shall conduct the correspondence of the church when so instructed.
6. Sunday School Superintendent.
a. The Sunday School Superintendent shall conduct the opening worship service of the Sunday School, and have general supervision of the Sunday School.
b. He shall preside at the business meeting of the Sunday School.
c. He shall, with the pastor, be responsible for selection of Sunday School materials and faculty, and for setting standards for teachers subject to the approval of the pastor.
7. Assistant Sunday School Superintendent.
He shall be responsible for the duties of the superintendent when he is absent.
8. Sunday School Secretary.
He shall keep the Sunday School attendance and offering records and shall order all necessary Sunday School supplies.
9. Head Usher.
The Head Usher and his assistants shall promote order, comfort, reverence, and unity in the public services of the church. They shall constrain latecomers from disturbing the services, collect the offerings, seat the worshippers, keep an accurate record of attendance at all services and help maintain the dignity of the house of worship. The head usher shall appoint a substitute in his absence and designate ushers for each service.
10. Chairman of the Missionary Committee.
With his committee, he shall seek to promote interest in missions throughout the church.
11. Chairman of the Social Committee.
With his committee, he shall be responsible td arrange and implement the various social functions of the church.
12. Chairman of the music Committee.
With his committee, he shall work with the pastor in providing a spiritual musical program for the services of the church; shall arrange for special music, and encourage the development and use of musical talent for the Lord's glory.
B. Duties of Appointed Officers and Committees.
All appointed officers and committees shall execute the func¬tions normally expected of thorn under the supervision of the pastor. The pastor shall define for the appointed officers and committees their responsibilities.
ARTICLE X. ELECTIONS
Section I. Elected Officers and Their Tenure.
A. All offices of elective status shall be filled at the annual meeting of the church.
B. Tenure of office shall be one year, except for deacons and trustees, who shall be elected for a period of three years and in such manner that a third of their number retires each year and an equal number elected. They shall hold office until a successor is elected and installed.
C. All elected officers (expect Pastor or Pastors) shall be allowed to succeed themselves.
D. An individual may be elected to more than one office provided he is qualified and can fulfill all the responsibilities of each office held.
E. Assumption of office date shall be June 1.
Section II. Nominating Committee.
A. The Membership of the Nominating Committee.
The nominating committee shall consist of the pastor (as chairman), deacons, and two adult church members. The deacons shall present a list of nominees from the church membership at large from which the church shall elect two members to serve on the nomin¬ating committee. These two committee members shall be elected at the third quarterly business meeting. The nominating committee shall elect a secretary from among their own number.
B. The Responsibility of the Nominating Committee.
1. The nominating committee shall select the candidates from the church membership at large it believes are best qualified for each elective office, one candidate for each office. These candidates shall be notified and interviewed as to their agreement and ability to accept the office should they be elected.
2. The Nominating committee shall prepare an election ballot and post this in a conspicuous place in the church at least three weeks before the election. At a stated service, two weeks before the election, the church shall meet and additional nominations can be made from the floor. This will eliminate any further nomi¬nations the night of the election. The nominating committee will interview each of these further nominees and if they are agreeable to having their name thus placed; these names shall be added to the ballot.
Section III. Vacancies.
Upon any vacancies of office, the pastor, with the deacons, shall appoint a qualified member to serve the balance of the fiscal year, at which time the church will elect a qualified member to fill the vacant office. The appointment to fill an unexpired term of less than one year shall not be counted as part of a three-year term.
Section IV. Requirement for Election.
Candidates receiving a majority of votes cast shall be declared elected.
Section V. Vote by Ballot.
Elections shall be by written ballot. The chairman of the meeting shall appoint tellers who shall collect, count the ballots and report to the meeting the results of the election.
Section VI. Right to Vote.
Resident members sixteen years of age and over shall have the right to vote. As required by law, no one under eighteen years shall have the right to vote for trustees.
ARTICLE XI. MEETINGS OF THE CHURCH
Section I. Worship Services.
A. The Church shall meet regularly every Sunday for the public worship of the eternal God, and the proclamation of the gospel of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
B. Midweek Bible Study and Prayer Meeting.
C. Any other meetings as the church may designate.
D. The Lord's Supper shall be observed at such regular intervals as the church may designate.
Section II. Business Meetings.
A. All business meetings shall be opened and closed with prayer.
B. Annual Business Meeting.
The Annual Business Meeting shall be held the third Wed. of May.
C. Quarterly Business Meetings.
The quarterly Business Meetings shall be held the third Wed. of the quarter.
D. Other Business Meetings.
1. Deacons and trustees shall hold business meetings as needed to carry out their responsibilities.
2. Other business meetings may be called by the pastor or chairman of the deacons as required (Article 9, Section 5-A, 1, d.).
3. Necessary church business may be conducted at any regular church service as required.
E. Rules of Order.
Parliamentary Procedure at a Glance and/or Robert's Rules of Order shall govern the parliamentary procedure.
Section III. Quorum.
Twenty-five percent (25%) of the voting members of the church, including two officers, shall constitute a quorum.
ARTICLE XII. SUBSIDIARY CHURCH ORGANIZATIONS
It is recognized that this church may have within it various subsidiary organizations such as the Sunday School, men's and woman's fellowships, youth groups, choirs and other organizations.
Section I. Relation of these groups to the church.
A. All such groups shall be considered arms of the church and shall exist for the purpose of extending the ministry and outreach of the church for evangelistic purposes.
B. All such groups shall be governed by the Constitution of the church, and any individual constitutions and procedures shall in no wise conflict with that of the church.
C. All such groups shall be under the supervision of the pastor and shall be responsible to the church as a whole. The church may call for a report from any subsidiary organization at any time, and may dissolve any such organization by a majority vote of the voting members present, after posting a two weeks notice.
D. All officers of church organizations shall be members in good and regular standing in this church. Any person ceasing to be a member in good standing shall automatically forfeit any offices he holds in any church organization and shall return within one week any monies, books, minutes or other property of the organization.
Section II. Finances of Subsidiary Organizations.
A. No organization shall have a separate bank account. All monies received in such organizations shall be turned over to the financial secretary and church treasurer and properly recorded.
B. No organization shall financially support missionary pro¬jects separately from the church.
ARTICLE XIII. CHURCH BUILDINGS AND FACILITIES
Section I. Use of Buildings.
The church buildings and facilities shall be used only for such meetings and activities as shall promote the gospel and honor of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Section II. Authority for use of Buildings.
The pastor and the deacons shall exercise the authority to permit the use of the buildings and shall refuse the use of the buildings for any meeting or activity contrary to church policy and belief.
Section III. Weddings and Funerals.
The church building may be used by members for weddings and funerals. Others desiring the use of church and buildings for weddings and funerals must have the consent of the pastor and the deacons.
Section IV. Profit Making.
The buildings and facilities of this church shall not be used for profit making.
Sections V. Property Rights.
Persons dismissed or who have withdrawn from the membership of the church have no right to make claim upon any of the church property and any such property in their possession shall be returned immediately.
ARTICLE XIV. FINANCIAL POLICY
This church shall be supported by the voluntary giving of tithes and offerings by God's people. We believe that every Christian should seek to give systematically, regularly, proportionately, sacrificially and cheerfully of his substance to the Lord's work through the local church (I Cor. 16:1-2; II Cor. Chapters 8 & 9). No means such as raffles, suppers, rummage sales and other similar methods shall be used by the church to raise money for its support.
ARTICLE XV. MEMORIALS
Memorials may be received by the church. The pastor and deacons shall supervise the details regarding memorials, and shall appoint a committee consisting of one deacon and one trustee to¬gether with the donor or donors and this committee shall consult together regarding details. All memorials involving real or per¬sonal property shall acceptable to the pastor and trustees before being received.
ARTICLE XVI. MISSIONS
This church shall support missionary causes and educational institutions consistent with its own belief and practices. A representative from each educational institution and all missionaries supported by this church shall indicate full agreement with the doctrinal position of this church by signing its statement of faith without mental reservations. Designated gifts will be honored if in harmony with the doctrines and practices of this church.
ARTICLE XVII. CONVENING OF A COUNCIL
In cases of difficulty, for the decision of which the church desires the advice and wisdom of disinterested brethren, letters may be sent to neighboring Baptist churches by the church clerk at the request of the deacons, asking them to appoint messengers to meet with messengers from this church on a specified day. To this council, when organized, the case shall be referred and their advice shall be laid before the church by the deacons at the following business meeting for further action.
ARTICLE XVIII. DISSOLUTION OF THE CHURCH
In the event of dissolution, the property of the church, real, personal, and other assets shall be disposed of according to the majority vote of the remaining members, in compliance with ARTICLE III. of Articles of Incorporation. This church shall be considered dissolved when its membership shall have been reduced to five. (5).
ARTICLE XIX. AMENDMENTS
Suggested amendments or additions to this constitution shall be presented to the pastor and deacons for their prayerful consideration. Upon recommendation of the pastor and deacons, any amendment may be presented to the congregation at a regular quarterly business meeting. Proposed amendments or additions shall be posted in the church for thirty days prior to the meeting at which they are discussed. The proposed amendment shall then be voted on at the next quarterly business meeting. Amendments and additions, except in ARTICLE III, may be adopted by a majority vote of the voting membership present. Amendments and additions to ARTICLE III may be adopted by a three-fourths (3/4) majority vote of the voting membership present.